Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has threatened to send troops into
neighboring Pakistan to fight militants that have been launching
cross-border attacks in his country. Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad
the two allies in the U.S-led war against terrorism accuse each
other of not doing enough to discourage militant activity.
President Hamid Karzai issued the forceful warning to the militants and
to the Pakistani government at a news conference in Kabul. He says his
country is ready to seek out militant leaders wherever they are.
Afghan president specifically named Baitullah Mehsud, an
al-Qaida-linked self-proclaimed Pakistani Taliban leader who is based
in the South Waziristan border region . Mehsud and leaders of other
extremist groups in Pakistan have in recent weeks vowed to send
fighters across the border to help Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.
Karzai says the fact that Pakistani militants cross into his country
gives Afghanistan the right to retaliate and destroy their hideouts
across the border.
"This means that Afghanistan has the right
of self defense," Mr. Karzai said. "When they cross the territory from
Pakistan to come and kill Afghans and kill coalition troops it exactly
gives us the right to go back and do the same. Therefore, Baitullah
Mehsud should know that we will go after him now and hit him in house.
And we will get them and we will defeat them and we will avenge all
that they have done in Afghanistan in the past so many years."
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is reported as saying the border
between Afghanistan and Pakistan is too long to prevent people from
crossing, even if his country deploys its entire army there. The
Associated Press quotes him as saying that Pakistan does not interfere
in anyone else's matters, and it will not allow anyone to interfere in
Pakistan's territorial limits.
Afghan President Karzai's
warning came two days after Taliban militants attacked a central jail
in the southern city of Kandahar, freeing hundreds of suspected Taliban
Last week, Pakistani officials said a U.S air
strike destroyed one of their border security posts, killing 11
soldiers. The Pakistani government condemned the attack as an
"unprovoked and cowardly" act and demanded a full investigation into
the incident. The United States says its air strike was targeting
militants in the area and Pakistan had been informed of the impending
The new Pakistani government has recently launched a
peace process in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to seek peace
deals with militants, including Baitullah Mehsud.
Afghan officials have criticized the deals, saying they will help
militants regroup to increase cross-border attacks. But Pakistan says
it is negotiating with only those militants who are willing to give up